So I haven’t been blogging at all recently because I’ve been busy slinging insurance and writing/recording music videos about owning a 2003 Saab 9-3. Plus, this past weekend was my school’s Alumni Weekend so cut me some slack if there are any grammatical errors.
Anyway, the Patriots landed in Western New York on Sunday and did what they’ve seemingly done every season over the course of the last decade or so: stomp out the Buffalo Bills to collect one of their five, seasonally guaranteed divisional wins and this year was no different…
First and foremost, Tom Brady is officially back to being Tom Brady. While last Sunday’s game against Cincinnati proved he still has a few Duraflame logs left in the fireplace, this past Sunday’s game against Buffalo proved he can still operate at an elite level on a week-to-week basis.
Tom had a decent amount of YAC support from guys like Lafell (97 yards; 2 Touchdowns) and Edelman (91 yards) but 350 yards and 4 end zone slings is still 350 yards and 4 end zone slings any way you want to cut it.
Throughout the first half hour of play, the offense sputtered as the Patriots trudged into halftime with a fragile 13-7 lead. However, as soon as the game clock struck 14:59 in the third quarter, it became clear that—even though the tide in the AFC East will eventually turn—Ralph Wilson most likely won’t be hosting any games this January.
Brady & Co. coasted out of the locker room at half with a purpose. They avoided pressure by dumping it off when necessary, they opened up the field with a few shots downfield, and they maintained their allegiance to the ground game.
Most importantly though, this team demonstrated they have the ability to RESPOND. Whenever things were beginning to look like weeks 1-4, the offense elevated tempo and cycled through a laundry list of formations.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: this offense should be running on a 2,000 calorie intake of two tight-end sets a day. I understand that executing that over the past couple seasons was difficult without a genuine pass-catching tight end to counter Gronk (94 yards), but this Wright guy has shown signs he could be the solution—good versatility, adequate mitts, no evidence of murderous compulsion. A few more weeks in the system should be all he needs to gain some confidence, draw coverage, and hopefully dilute the negative impact of Ridley’s absence.
P.S. Is it too early/late to throw Brian Tyms (43 yards; TD) on this year’s HOF ballot? I know we’ve only seen this kid in flashes, but the flashes we’ve seen could rack up one hell of an electric bill. That 40-yard TD snag to open the flood gates in the second quarter was cold-blooded stuff.
Point blank: defense is what kept the Pats from imploding in that first half. Kyle Orton threaded a few more reads than he should’ve, but the secondary’s ability to recover, swarm the open field, and capitalize on loose-ball opportunities was the difference.
In particular, Chung showed up out of nowhere (9 tackles) while Chandler Jones (5 tackles; 1 sack) and Rob Ninkovich (6 tackles; 3 sacks) spent more time in Buffalo’s backfield than CBS’ wire-flown broadcast camera.
It was an all-around suffocating performance by Patricia’s squad, but in the end, the most critical takeaway from Sunday was the injury to Jarod Mayo.
Regardless of who you root for, it’s tough to not feel for #51 right now. I understand that blowing an ACL is one of risks of lacing up on Sunday, but it’s still discouraging to watch his ass get carted off the field following something as minuscule as a 2-yard draw to open up a series. Some guys just can’t seem to catch a break in this league; it just sucks that one of those guys is Jarod Mayo.
Moving forward, I have no idea how Big Dick Bill and Josh McDaniels plan to compensate for the absence of their leading rusher but it’s going to take some Adderall because after the Jets, the Pats are scheduled to face Chicago, Denver, Indy, Detroit, and Green Bay—so Cutler, Peyton, Luck, Stafford, and Rodgers—in succession.
In other words, if this offense isn’t prepared for shootout football, the next five weeks could get uglier than Scarlett Johansson if Scarlett Johansson was actually just Sam Cassell and not Scarlett Johansson at all.
On the other side of the ball, things are pretty much up in the air as well.
If the Pats elect to remain in a 4-3, they’re left with a few options: a.) throw Deontae Skinner to the wolves at outside linebacker; b.) force Nink to outside linebacker and pray that Dominique Easley doesn’t completely soil himself; or c.) scrap the 4-3 completely and rely on Chandler Jones to single-handedly apply heat from the edge.
All things considered, it’s also plausible that the Pats don’t do any of those things and come up with something exponentially smarter, but then again, that’s why they get paid to coach whereas I
get paid to spew misinformed bullshit on WordPress…